We stood vigil in an overgrown field in back of the Comfort Inn in Lenoir City, Tennessee, shifting aimlessly in the slowly dimming light. The temperature had dropped. Even though there was not a cloud in the sky, it was possible to stand in the direct blaze of a Southern summer afternoon sun and feel cool. We had driven twelve hours, and we waited patiently in the weeds with our new friends from Virginia who had driven a mere four hours for the experience.
Totality. In the moment I removed my solar glasses and beheld the eclipse with my bare eyes, I entered a new world. A world where the sun and the moon are close enough to touch, hovering just out of reach in an impossible relationship with me, here, standing like a little bump on a beautiful blue globe. I didn’t just see the sun’s corona peeking from around the shadow of the moon. I saw a relationship of sun, moon, earth, in holy union.
And then it passed. But here I still am, and I know what that looks like now, with my bare eyes.
Yesterday, I stood with a little choir of my Sisters in community, in what is essentially a gymnasium, and we led the singing for closing prayer. We’ve spent four days together, about 70 of us, in St. Joseph Hall, working on issues related to our spirituality and life together as vowed women. We sang a setting of the Magnificat that was written by one of our Sisters many years ago. It is beautiful.
“I will sing with all my soul ….” Yes. The first line of the chorus, repeated throughout the song, suddenly pierced my heart. I am a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity and it is a hard life. I have been doing this Sister thing a long time now, and you’d think I would have more clarity than I do about the various issues we are grappling with. But it seems that nothing can ever be easy.
But in the midst of it all–my feet hurt, my back hurts, I am worried about the meeting I have after this, I think I failed to persuade the others on that certain issue, I still have to prepare my presentation for the review tomorrow, and so on and so on–in the midst of it all, I took my solar glasses off. I beheld with my bare eyes the impossible, beautiful relationship of all us here, my Sisters.
“I will sing with all my soul….” Totality.
Blog writer Sr. Deborah Wilson, MSBT is currently serving on the MSBT General Council in Philadelphia, PA.